For Friday, we get a seven game slate from which to build our rosters. Here is a look at the studs and value plays for tonight’s games:
POINT GUARD TARGETS
- Chris Paul @ LAL ($9500) – Yes, that is a lot of money for one player, but there is good reason for the steep price. Paul is very good, and the Lakers defense is likely to be very bad again this season. This will also be the Lakers’ third game in the last four days so their D might be a step slower than normal. Think of Paul like a sports car tonight, expensive, but well worth it once you take him for a spin.
- Derrick Rose vs. CLE ($7,100) – Rose was not all that great in his first game of the season, yet still managed a solid fantasy game. Cleveland might be better defensively this season than they were last year, but they are unlikely to be an elite defensive team. It is also doubtful that Rose will only play 21 minutes in this game, like he did in his last one.
- Donald Sloan vs. MEM ($5800) – Chances are Sloan will not repeat the 16-point, 10 rebound and six assists he managed against the 76ers on opening night. He will however,once again play 30+ minutes and provide a nice profit for his owners.
- Jeremy Lin vs. LAC ($4600) – There is no doubting the fact that Lin has struggled in his first two games; he also does not get any favors from his opponent defensively as the Clippers are a good defensive team. Now the positives. Lin will get plenty of playing time, and it is likely that Kobe Bryant will be a little worn out playing his third game in four nights. What that means for Lin is that he will be relied upon to score more than he has been — more shots equal more fantasy points.
SHOOTING GUARD TARGETS
- Wesley Matthews @ SAC ($6400) – I am not sure the “stud” label works at SG. I already mentioned I am down on Kobe tonight. Matthews had a nice first game to his season, and there is nothing wrong with his matchup tonight either. Most of his value comes from his scoring, but he will also have a few rebounds, assists and a steal or two.
- Manu Ginobili @ PHO ($5600) – Sure, Manu is not likely to play 35+ minutes, but he does not need to to have a solid fantasy game. Phoenix is not anything special defensively and Manu is healthy, making him a solid play at a nice price.
- O. J. Mayo vs. PHI ($4500) – Mayo is a risk/reward play for sure. We already know the reward; he gets off to a hot start, gets a chance to take shots from long range and hits them at a good rate — ending up with a good fantasy game. The risk is, he does not hit his shots, and ends up sitting on the bench most of the game. Given Milwaukee’s defense, I think the former is more likely.
- Tony Allen @ IND ($4000) – This is my “just need a solid game from a cheap player” pick. Allen is very unlikely to have a monster game for you. He is also unlikely to have a bad one. He is a starter you can get for $4000 who finds a way to provide fantasy points every game.
SMALL FORWARD TARGETS
- Nicolas Batum @ SAC – LeBron James seems like an obvious pick here, I just cannot recommend him for $10500. Batum has what should be a more favorable matchup, is $3300 cheaper and, like James, scores fantasy points from a variety of categories.
- Kawhi Leonard @ PHO ($6100) – You can thank an eye infection for Leonard’s low price tonight. Leonard is another player who provides his fantasy points from a variety of categories and who also has a nice matchup.
- Jabari Parker vs. PHI ($5400) – This early in the season there is a lot more we do not know than we do know. One of the things we do know, is that the 76ers are horrible on defense. Parker’s first game this season was not very good, things will get better with him playing Philadelphia. Parker is a nice value-play tonight
- Matt Barnes @ LAL ($4800) – Another one of the things we know this season is the Lakers are also not going to be all that good. Barnes is one of those players who just provides you with a solid fantasy game every night. He is not likely to give you 50 fantasy points, but is a good bet for 20-30 especially against a weak defensive team.
POWER FORWARD TARGETS
- Lamarcus Aldridge @ SAC ($9200) – There are a lot of very nice elite options tonight at power forward. I like Aldridge over Blake Griffin because I think he has a similar matchup, similar upside and a $800 lower price tag. While we might not yet know that Sacramento is bad, I think is likely they will struggle defensively; I doubt that will be able to contain Aldridge.
- Kevin Love @ CHI ($9100) – Chicago ranked 21st against power forwards last season, and that was before they added Pau Gasol to their team. While Gasol is a good fantasy player, he is not all that great of a defender — or all that good, or even good at all. I will refrain from saying that “I love Love” in this matchup, but I do.
- Ersan Ilyasova vs. PHI ($4600) – Thanks to Ilyasova’s foul trouble, he only played 12 minutes against Charlotte on Wednesday, thus he comes into this game with a very nice price. As I have mentioned, the 76ers are bad. You might also have noticed that I like guys who contribute in multiple categories since that helps insulate them — and you — from bad fantasy games. Ilyasova is not going to play 30 minutes but if he can get on the court for 20, he can give you 20 fantasy points against the 76ers.
- Chris Copeland vs. MEM ($3400) – When you get down to this salary level, you are taking a chance. With Copeland you are counting on his 20+ minutes, against what should be a below average defense, to give you 15-20 fantasy points. That is exactly what Copeland did in his first game this season, and there is little reason not to expect that again in this game.
- DeMarcus Cousins vs. POR ($9900) – Perhaps I have an unhealthy liking for Cousins. After all, he is very expensive tonight and facing a solid defensive team. But, missed free throws do not hurt you on Draft Kings, and Cousins did average 46.7 fantasy points per game last season. If you can afford Cousins at this price, he will be worth the investment.
- DeAndre Jordan @ LAL ($7500) – No, I do not have an unhealthy obsession for big-guys with free throw shorting issues, why do you ask? I like Jordan because of his matchup, the Lakers ranked 30th against opposing centers last season. The fact that Jordan’s missed free throws will not hurt you is an added bonus.
- Larry Sanders vs. PHI ($5700) – Stop me if you have heard this one before; the 76ers are bad. Sanders is a good player when healthy, which he is. Better yet, he got into foul trouble in his first game which helped lower his price for this game. I would be shocked if Sanders did not post a double-double with multiple blocks tonight.
- Chris Kaman @ SAC ($3400) – Kaman had a nice first game this season managing 12 points, six rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes against the Thunder. While Kaman is a back up, he should be on the court for 20+ minutes and should fare well against Sacramento’s backups.